My son’s birthday was yesterday. He relayed to me how he thought getting older is such a bittersweet experience. You are given another year and at the same time, you’re a year further into life. We celebrated his day at a Sushi place nearby. I was regretting that I forgot to bring my camera and was tempted to sprint to the house to get it while waiting for the food. On his special day, the best thing I could do was capture the moment in my head. Some memories are indelible except that sometimes, sad moments can momentarily eclipse the good. Taking pictures is good. Looking at them definitely has this undeniable way of drawing us back to a specific moment in time and for the most part, we only take pictures of the things we always want to remember.
The pastor was talking about the four stages of the Christian walk. He illustrated it with four chairs, one for each stage and sat on each one as he expounded. The first was being an unbeliever being invited to the abundant life. The second stage was becoming a new creation and putting faith and trust in Jesus. The third is Jesus inviting the believer to become fishers of men and being trained by The Teacher and the fourth is full surrender to the calling and living the Spirit-led life. The pastor also showed video clips of people belonging to each stage. They had a middle-aged man at the first stage and a young college-age woman on the fourth stage. It was interesting to see that when it comes to the spiritual walk, physical age is irrelevant. It is more about the person’s commitment and surrender to the sanctification process.
The Rose Garden
It is such a beautiful day out so we went to go smell the roses, literally. As I walked around, it emitted that pleasant fragrance carried by the breeze. The good thing about Oregon is that it has plenty of parks with beautiful flowers. I honestly have not read this before but the rose is such a perfect depiction of life- beautiful but with thorns. You could handle the rose without being hurt by the thorns, the prickly and painful moments we all love to avoid by being mindful, which can be tied to what Jesus said in John 16:33,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
The rose has a set lifespan. We know we have but a short time. Only God knows the exact figure. With our short lifespan, it is easy to drift back into the course of the flesh. What is expected of us as believers in Christ is that we continue to persevere and remain to be a pleasing aroma unto God.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-17
Going back to the four stages of the Christian walk, can you pinpoint what stage you are in? Knowing where you are helps. I have not personally known a believer who intentionally aims to go a downward direction. It happens so easily when we don’t watch ourselves. Going upward on the other hand is very intentional. We can’t go in that direction without being determined to overcome obstacles being hurled from every direction and we have the Holy Spirit who empowers us.
If you find yourself to be sitting on the first chair, glory in the fact that God is drawing you to Himself (John 6:37, John 6:44). If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, you are in a prime position to find The Way (John 14:6).